(Note: This event name has been changed to The Sculpture Games for 2013. It is now a 2-day event. More at www.thesculpturegames.com.)
I consider myself creative and imaginative, but when it comes to art, stick figures are as good as it gets. My husband, Ryan, however, was born an artist. He used to get in trouble in school for drawing in math class, and in art class he was the star, winning every competition that came along.
Ryan went on to attend the Art Institute of Colorado and since 2004, he’s been designing and manufacturing high end furniture for his own company, Ryan Schlaefer Fine Furniture, Inc. located in Loveland, Colorado.
This summer he had the opportunity to participate in a Loveland art competition, something he hadn’t done since graduating college. He was hesitant at first, wondering it was wise to go up against the talented sculptors who were sure to compete. Loveland is a well-known art community, with a nationally renowned sculpture weekend in August, and many sculptors call the community home.
The competition, called Assemble, involved making a three-dimensional creations in seven hours using only junk. Think Junkyard Wars, but more artsy fartsy. Ryan recruited a friend’s father, Bob Lipinski, a welder, to join his team.
The competition took place on July 14, in conjunction with Loveland Loves BBQ, Bands & Brews. Two local businesses, Uncle Benny’s and Mrs. Goodthrift donated two huge truckloads of materials, everything from doors, to lamps to metal scraps and everything in between.
Ten teams of 22 Loveland and Fort Collins-based artists had 2-hours to preview the pile before diving in and creating their sculptures in just 7 hours. The big barbecue, bands and beer event in Loveland was just a block away from Assemble, so festival goers would wander through, watching the sculptures take shape and voting for their favorites.
It was intriguing to watch the public’s reaction to the different pieces. Some chatted with the artists, while others whispered quietly among themselves, likely discussing what they would have done if they had taken part.
I’d experienced live snow sculpture events, but this was something different. For one thing, I was on the other side, watching my husband compete in the show. Second, in a snow sculpture competition everyone is working in the same medium. Here, it was interesting to see what the artists picked off the pile and then to speculate on what they were creating.
Some of the teams came in with ideas, others developed an idea when they saw what items were in the pile, and still others, like my husband and Bob, developed their idea as they worked. Ryan said it was sort of like any other day at his shop; designing, building and troubleshooting.
With the historic feed and grain as the backdrop for this artistic competition, you could almost feel the creativity in the air – the hot, hot air – it was nearly 100 degrees, and my job as the stocker of the cooler ended up being a crucial part of the day.
Assemble proved to be so intriguing that I’m inspired t seek out more of these live art competitions around Colorado. I will make sure you know about them on HeidiTown’s Facebook page. It’s a good way to feed your artistic inner child, as well as support Colorado’s talented art community.
Oh, and by the way, my husband won Assemble. There were five judges who critiqued the work on form, function, fine art, conduct and style. Ryan Schlaefer and Bob Lipinski took home first for their table, built from scraps of wood, an old gazebo, chair legs, and metal hardware shaped like hearts.
Assemble is going to be an annual event in Loveland, Colorado. Go to www.assembleloveland.com for more information. PLEASE NOTE: The website is now www.thesculpturegames.com.
See more photos from Assemble & Loveland Loves BBQ, Bands & Brew HERE.